| Jr. Feature |

Mali’s Secret Notebook

I am absolutely positively 100 percent totally completely entirely fully utterly (I used a thesaurus) dreading taking the bus
June 11

Mommy and Tatty dropped not one but TWO big bombs last night, and then everything exploded.

1: We’re moving.

2: They’re not doing carpool for me and Dina anymore. No matter what.

I know, I know, you’d think #2 shouldn’t be as earthshattering as #1, but… it’s the truth. I’ve known for a long time that they’ve wanted to move. They just weren’t sure when or where.  (The who has always been a given — that’s us. The what — moving house — and the why — ours is too small and in a bad location — have long since been settled.)

But now it’s finally happening. Finally. The only thing is, the where still isn’t 100 percent. The only thing that is 100 percent is that they’re done with carpool. Finito. (Um, that’s Italian, but it snuck into English.) Which can only mean one thing … <cue the scary music> … taking the bus.

I have a whole summer to be anxious and annoyed about that, though, right?!

August 22

So, little notebook, as you can see, I haven’t been the most faithful of correspondents. But don’t take it personally, ‘kay? (Uh, am I like the weirdest person ever, to tell my notebook not to be offended?) But I have a good explanation. I’ve been busy. Summer. Camp.  Pool.  Friends.  Etc. Etc. Etc. But never once has that dark bus-shaped cloud completely evaporated from my mind.

Dramatic, I know. But I like the image… Bus-shaped clouds… Anyway, I am absolutely positively 100 percent totally completely entirely fully utterly (I used a thesaurus) dreading taking the bus. Can you tell?

Official List of Reasons Why I Hate the Bus

Waiting for it early in the morning.

Waiting for it in the heat.

Waiting for it in the rain.

Waiting for it in the snow.

Just plain waiting for it.

Who will I sit with?

What if the best seats are already taken?

What if the driver is mean?

What if the driver is weird?

What if I forget my stuff on it?

What if I fall asleep on it in front of everyone? (Horror!)

Getting home late.

Did I mention waiting for it?

I could go on and on really. But you get the idea. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Take. The. Bus.

August 23

There’s some good news.  We’re moving into our new house tomorrow. And it’s really nice. Yay!

Lesser good news but still good news: Packing has been kinda useful. I got rid of a ton of junk. Like a ton, literally. Well not literally because that would be the weight of the Liberty Bell (which we saw last summer, and which wasn’t all that exciting)  or an original VW Beetle (which we almost never see anymore)

or a Great White Shark (which is scary and I hope to never see!)

But I did get rid of things. And guess what? I also found things. Like that school atlas I’ve been looking for since Pesach and never found. (Bad news again: I owe a zillion dollars in overdue fees.)

Other good news: I still have my banana pencil case with the cool M keychain and my favorite sparkly mechanical pencil. So, I’m basically set for school. (I mean, minus all the supplies I still need to buy. But at least I have my fav things.)

August 28

Can it really be Elul already?

And can I really be starting school so soon?

The answer is yes. And also:  NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

This summer has flown. Like a peregrine falcon (which can swoop or dive at 186 mph!). Or like a  spine-tailed swift. Which technically isn’t called that anymore, the new name is white-throated needletail. Poor swifts. Because they used to be known as the fastest fliers, and could supposedly reach speeds of 105 mph. But guess what? That number was never scientifically proven. And guess who’s the fastest flyer now? The Brazilian free-tailed bat. They’ve actually been clocked flying at 99.5 mph. I digress. But I like science. And birds. And even bats. What I don’t like is… the bus.

August 30

Here’s a conversation from last night:

Ta: Mali, I know you and Dina are anxious about the bus, but it’s getting blown out of proportion.

Me: But I really don’t want to take the bus.

Ta: Why?

Me: A zillion reasons.

Ta: A zillion? (He raised his right eyebrow.) 🤔 You know Mommy and I can’t drive you anymore. It’s just not going to work.

And then there was a knock on the front door, another new neighbor coming over to say hello… I was so busy fuming that I almost didn’t hear the neighbor saying, “And my girls walk to school…”

Walk! Walk! Did you hear that? His girls walk!

August 31

7 Reasons Why I Should Walk to School

A list for my parents…


Fresh air!!

Practice independence!!

Stress relief!!!

Um, good for the environment? (No air pollution!?!)

Great sister bonding time with Dina!!!!!!

Reduces traffic!! (Aren’t adults always complaining about traffic??)

Okay, so I was trying to think of 9 reasons why I should walk. I wanted to, you know, put my best foot forward (haha, pun intended) when I present my arguments to Mommy and Tatty about why I should be allowed to walk to school. But so far, I only came up with seven. And lots of exclamation points.

Anyway, I gotta get to the library and do some real research. Then I can prove to Mommy and Tatty that not only do I want to walk, and I know it’s close enough, but it’s also the best and most obvious choice. There!!!

September 1

Okay, so school is starting super soon. Like no time to do real research. But you know how parents and grandparents are always going on about “When I was kid…” Or “When I was your age…”? Well, they all walked to school. Or a lot of them did. (Uphill both ways in the snow, but never mind that.)

I think I’m going to present this to Mommy and Tatty as getting back to our roots, you know, getting in touch with the, uh, mesorah of our family. What do you think? And I know they’ll be into the health and de-stressing benefits.

I think I won’t mention the new sneakers I’m hoping to buy. Not yet.

September 2

Guess what?? I brought up the whole walking-to-school idea and Mommy and Tatty just said, “Great idea!” (Exclamation point!) and that was even before I started going into all my reasons and lists. Can you believe it?? So easy??

They were just like, “Yeah, we live a lot closer now. We didn’t realize how many girls from the area walk. And we’ll be happy for you and your sister to go together.”

And that was that, almost like they’d been thinking of this idea all along. I wanted to skip out of the room. But you know what I did? I walked. Ha!


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 926)

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